Use Digital Signage for a More Collaborative Workplace

Collaboration is an important part of any successful business. Employees want it – according to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal. Loyal workers stay around longer, reducing the expense needed to replace someone – Gusto reports that 37% of employees say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying at a company, and 54% say that a strong sense of community kept them at a company longer than was in their best interest. Community in the workplace comes from many different directions – great coworkers, following a common mission, celebrating milestones, etc. And opportunities to collaborate. In a collaborative working environment, employees feel valued and connected at work, which energizes them to do their very best.

Millennials certainly want and expect collaboration. Mercer has a survey on Absence Management which says that 78% of Millennials see workplace quality as important when deciding where to work, and a full third say they actively want collaborative spaces.

Yet Queen’s University in Charlotte, NC finds that 39% of employees believe that people in their organization don’t collaborate enough. They also say that, while 75% of employers say teamwork and collaboration are both “very important”, only 18% of employees get communication evaluations in their performance reviews. When it comes to Millennials, Queen’s find nearly half of them want and expect social tools for workplace collaboration. Salesforce says that 97% of both employees and executives think “lack of alignment” within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project, and 86% say workplace failures are mainly caused by lack of collaboration or ineffective communication.

Companies with digital signage already know that it’s one of the most powerful tools they have for both widespread and targeted communications within the organization. But can it also help with collaboration?

An article by Forbes lists 12 habits of success factors used by collaborative organizations:

  1. They lead by example
  2. They focus on individual benefits as well as corporate ones
  3. They work on strategy before developing technology or systems
  4. They get out of the way and trust their employees
  5. They listen to employees
  6. They have integrated collaboration into workflows
  7. They create a supportive environment
  8. They measure what matters
  9. They are persistent
  10. They adapt and evolve
  11. They recognize that collaboration also benefits the customer
  12. They understand that collaboration can make the world a better place

There’s a lot written about the benefits of collaboration, and how to foster it. American Express likens small businesses to superhero teams – company expectations and goals are communicated and set, a creative atmosphere exists, and people know one another and build cohesion through leveraging team member strengths. Nutcache says collaboration not only makes happier employees who will stay with a company longer, but promotes self-analysis, results in problem-solving, develops employee skills, and makes things go faster and more efficiently. Ingram Micro Technology Solutions adds that companies that collaborate are more flexible, and collaboration speeds up onboarding of new employees as well as allowing remote or telecommuting workers to participate in real time.

Corporate digital signage can help with all of these things. It’s pervasive on site, and a web-based platform allows a company to extend their messages to webpages and remote locations. Meeting room signs let a company convert static locations in the office into dynamic workspaces where collaboration can happen.

It’s all about the messages that get displayed on the screens. Putting messages about the company goals and mission in the playlist reminds people to look at the bigger picture. When the company has a success, or an impact in the world outside the organization, that information can also go up on screens to show people that what they’re doing matters and give them a sense of accomplishment. Individuals and teams can be recognized company-wide for their achievements and innovations. Graphically displaying real-time data shows current progress towards team goals and can influence behavior immediately.

Digital signage is more than just messages, however. It can be integrated into training programs – messages can show tips and “trivia” questions relevant to the company and needed skills. Interactive touchscreens can be self-service training centers themselves, with multi-layered information available whenever an employee has the time.

In the workplace itself, employees don’t have to be tied to their desks. Many companies are experimenting with a variety of innovative workspaces, like hoteling desks (for people who come in rarely or only need a physical space for a short time), huddle spaces and standing zones (spaces where a few people can spontaneously  get together for a quick collaborative session, video zones (booths or small rooms that are set up for videoconferencing with remote workers or clients), casual spaces (like lounges or on-site cafes, where people can relax and work at the same time, and run into one another casually, fostering creative interactions).

Meeting rooms signs can make reserving such spaces fast and easy. They’re tied to the company’s calendaring system, so any reservations made or cancelled are automatically updated everywhere. There are no double bookings, are people don’t have to wander around looking for a free space to meet and collaborate – a quick look at the screens tells them what’s available. EPS room signs are wireless, so they can be moved anywhere they’re needed, like hoteling desks or video zones, to show reservations. Using digital signage, even the physical workplace can become a flexible.

If a company already has digital signage, it just takes a little work to start creating a collaborative atmosphere, where collaboration is the norm rather than the exception. For an organization thinking of purchasing a digital signage system, these considerations should be part of the planning process, so the workplace becomes a flexible and innovative place on day one of the deployment.